New tech at Kansas City polling locations should make Tuesday’s election check-in faster

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City, Missouri, voters will notice new technology at the polls Tuesday. Hundreds of new Poll Pads will be used to check voters in for the first time in a KC general election.

"There's an awful lot that goes into preparing, especially since we have new equipment," said Lauri Ealom, Democratic Director for the Kansas City Board of Elections. "We have what's called the Poll Pad."

"Most of the voters, the main complaint that we had all of the time is that it doesn't scan," Ealom said. "On the voter ID cards or the Missouri driver's license or just the state ID, it scans every time."

For voters and volunteer election judges, this will mean a much faster check-in process.

"Everything is better," election judge Roxanne Troxell said. "With the old ones you couldn't even scan the IDs because the camera was too finicky. This one does all of the adjustments automatically."

Another feature of the new Poll Pads is if you show up at the wrong polling place, these new poll pads will tell you where you should vote. They can print the address to the correct polling place and even send a link with directions to your cell phone.

"It's user friendly, and it provides them with directions instantly," Ealom said. "And they can check their phone right before they leave, and they'll get the text message with the directions."

Election judges have been training to use the new devices since they came in. Some say this new system is the answer to common voter frustrations.

"I think we're definitely going in the right direction," Troxell said. "The faster and easier we can make it for people the more likely people will come out to vote."

The new Poll Pads are just the first of several new devices that will be used in coming elections. The election board recently tested new voting machines that are expected to be rolled out this spring.

The Kansas City Board of Elections is actively seeking more election judges for future elections. It’s a volunteer position, but you do get paid for your time. Sign up by visiting the board's website.



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